In the Habs’ Room: It was a ‘rough night,’ Bourque says
Lone scorer for Habs snaps 13-game point drought
PITTSBURGH - Penguins coach Dan Bylsma says a one-sided loss can serve as a wake-up call and there was evidence of that Wednesday as Pittsburgh bounced back from a 5-1 loss to Florida and crushed the Canadiens 5-1.
“We were 6-1-1 before the loss Monday and sometimes when you’re winning, you don’t recognize that you’re letting bad habits creep in,” Bylsma said. “Sometimes, a loss can help you refocus.”
If that’s the case, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien has material to work with as he prepares his team back-to-back games Friday in Detroit and back home Saturday against Washington.
“We didn’t belong with that team for the first two periods,” Rene Bourque said. “We weren’t ready to play. We fed their power play too many times and obviously, with skill like that, that will happen to you.”
Bourque scored the lone Montreal goal and he was asked if he could take a consolation from ending a 13-game point drought.
“Minor I guess, but as a team, it was rough night,” said Bourque, who led the Canadiens with five shots on goal.
Bourque needed a video review from Toronto before his goal was ruled good.
“I wasn’t worried,” he said. “It was clear. I don’t know how they missed it. Daniel Brière gave me a nice pass in the slot.”
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, was on the ice for four of the Pittsburgh goals and finished the night at plus-3.
“You can’t let Malkin carry the puck up the ice all night,” Bourque said. “He was going around us all night. And then you have the power play and they have five world-class players out there.”
Malkin went around Andrei Markov to score his goal and coach Michel Therrien noted that his No. 1 defence pair of Markov and P.K. Subban had a “tough night.”
“We gave them too much space,” Brière said. “There are two ways to play against a high-end offensive team like Pittsburgh, either you go after them and make life miserable for them all night, attack them at the risk of sometimes making a mistake but making it hard on them, or you can sit back and watch them play and that’s what we did.
“We have to realize we can’t rely on (Carey) Price and (Peter) Budaj to bail us out every night,” Brière added. “The last two or three weeks we haven’t been good enough and they’ve bailed us out far too many times.”
Price was pulled after giving up the fifth goal to Malkin, but Therrien made it clear that he wasn’t putting any of the blame for the defeat on Price.
“I had no reason to leave him out there,” Therrien said. “He’s been a warrior all year long. They got some quality scoring chances, but we should have done a better job of protecting our goalie.”
Therrien rejected a suggestion that the Canadiens were passive.
“We were trying to be aggressive,” he said. “They were hungry and when you give them a chance to put their power play out there, they’ll hurt you. They were the better team and they deserved to win.”
As is the case in most one-sided games, there was some extracurricular activity in the third period. A scrum in the front of the Pittsburgh net produced a 40 minutes in penalties including a game misconduct for Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik and minors to Budaj and Marc-André Fleury for leaving their creases. The goalies tried to get each other and Bylsma commended the linesmen for keeping them apart.
The loss leaves the Canadiens with a 4-5-2 record in their last 11 games and they have to be concerned about teams catching them from behind in the Atlantic Division. Montreal and Toronto are tied in points with 59 but the Canadiens hold down third place because they have played two fewer games.
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